The Michael Jordan Doppelgänger Suit

Michael Jordan Doppleganger caseToday, in a continuation of our frivolous lawsuit series, we’re going to dive deeper into the “Superstar Mistaken Identity Case.”

The case began in 2006, when a Portland Oregon native, Allen Heckard, tried to sue Michael Jordan and Nike. You’d think a personal injury case against Nike and Michael Jordan would have something to do with a twisted ankle playing basketball in Air Jordans.

After all, there were a few successful suits for people who suffered from Sketcher shape-up shoe injuries. Amazingly, this case has nothing to do with shoes or physical injury.

A Litigious Lookalike Case

Heckard filed a lawsuit, because he was sick and tired of people mistaking him for Michael Jordan. Apparently, he had people saying they looked alike left and right. Most people would love this kind of attention and would milk it for all it was worth.

Not Heckard, though – in fact, he was so tired of being mistaken as the basketball superstar that he sued Jordan for defamation, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering. You might be wondering what Nike has to do with the suit? Heckard claimed that Nike sabotaged his life, because they were the company that made Jordan so famous.

According to Heckard, the pain and suffering inflicted by Jordan and Nike will follow him for the rest of his life. He also blamed Nike and Jordan for negatively impacting his “lifestyle.” He claimed that he continually dealt with public harassment that aggravated his already shot nerves. Supposedly, this public harassment followed him for the last 15 years, making him miserable.

According to Heckard, the emotional stress from being Jordan’s doppelgänger made it hard for him to work. Somehow it also made it impossible for him to capitalize proper nouns or use the possessive form of nouns. He was so distressed that he sued for the not-so-humble amount of $832 million. He wanted $416 a piece from Jordan and Nike.

While not the most sensible claim in the world, when it came down to it, Heckard and Jordan did look alike – sort of. They’re both African-American males with shaved heads and one earring. Ironically, Heckard also liked to wear Air Jordans. Nonetheless, these similarities are too vague to be uncanny.

Heckard was also 50 pounds lighter, six inches shorter, and eight years older than Jordan. He’s also not as good at basketball. Okay, so maybe Heckard and Jordan didn’t look that alike. Maybe Heckard could’ve saved himself a lot of emotional distress, if he took his earring out and changed his shoes.

Why This Case Wasn’t a Slam Dunk

This case was finished before it was ever started. Heckard paid a $206 fee to file his lawsuit and never got a lawyer to represent him in court. When asked how he arrived at the amount of $832 million for compensation, he responded with “you figure with my age and you multiply that by seven and, ah, then I turn around and, ah, I figure that’s what it all boils down to.”

He doesn’t make much sense in his response, but then again, the entire suit also didn’t make much sense. When asked what he hated about being mistaken for Michael Jordan, he responded with “I want to be recognized as me, just like Michael’s recognized as Michael.”

We can empathize with why this would be annoying. Any younger sibling knows how annoying it is to be identified as “so-and-so’s younger brother,” and can relate tp this sentiment. But most people are logical enough to see this as an annoyance and not an emotional distress.

 

What Do We Learn from the Doppelgänger Case?

This case is so out in left field that there’s a good chance that Heckard was suffering from some sort of emotional pain or mental illness. He just didn’t realize that his problems weren’t caused by Nike and Michael Jordan, and they were probably caused by a personality disorder. In fact, it’s not uncommon for these litigious lawsuits to be filed by people suffering from personality disorders.

Oftentimes, people with personality disorders are attracted to quarrels and will try to use the legal system as a means to sustain conflict. In Heckard’s case, he picked a squabble with the wrong celebrity. The case ended up drawing more attention to himself, which was where his “emotional distress” stemmed from in the first place. Only in the end, the spotlight wasn’t on his physical appearance, it was on his silliness.

There’s a small possibility that Heckard would’ve been taken more seriously, if he’d found an attorney willing to take his case. Nonetheless, most attorneys would know that his case is a stretch. It’s easy to spot groundless lawsuits, which is why your legitimate personal injury will stand out in the legal system.

The Pants Suit to End All Pants Suits – Pearson v. Chung

Suit and Tie 2Today, we’re going to talk about a frivolous lawsuit that brings a whole new meaning to the expression to “sue the pants off of someone.”

The lawsuit began in 2005 when Judge Roy Pearson in Washington D.C. went to his neighborhood dry cleaner to get his pants altered.

The Pants Suit

He took them to Custom Cleaners, a family-owned chain of dry cleaners that boasted “Same Day Service” and “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Somewhere along the way, the pants were accidentally sent to another branch of the dry cleaner, where they were altered and returned to the original dry cleaner a few days later.

You could say that Pearson got his pants in a wad, because he certainly wasn’t satisfied with this service. In fact, Pearson felt so short suited that he refused to take the pants back and sued the owners, the Chung Family for 65 million dollars.

He claimed that the pants they gave back to him were not his, even though the Chungs were able to verify their records, tags, and Pearson’s receipts to show they were his pants.

These must’ve been Pearson’s favorite pair of pants, because Pearson claimed that the missing pants cost him severe inconvenience and mental anguish. Before filing the lawsuit, Pearson wanted compensation for the pants, claiming they were over $1000.

When the Chungs wouldn’t give in to his demands, Pearson swooped in with a second fraud law suit, claiming that the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” advertisement was fraud.

Pearson wanted $500,000 in attorney’s fees (he represented himself), $2 million for inconvenience and mental distress, and $15,000 to rent a car every week to go to another dry cleaning service. The rest of the money, he wanted to help other unhappy costumers.

Clearly, this is a case of a dramatic (albeit educated) Judge that wanted to quarrel and was trying to work the system. In fact, this case was so theatrical that they even made an episode of Law & Order based off of it.

A Case of Taking Things Too Personal

Pearson put on quite the show in court and broke down during his testimony, while explaining the emotional pain the cleaners caused by giving him the wrong pants. After his testimony, an 89-year-old woman in a wheelchair testified, saying she’d been chased out of the cleaners by angry owners. She compared the immigrant Chung family to Nazis.

Pearson dramatically claimed on the stands that “never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices.” He also claimed that it was his responsibility as a community member to sue the Chungs on behalf of everyone in D.C., since they’d falsely advertised “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Pearson even went as far as to refer to himself as the personal pronoun, “we” in his claim that he was representing everyone in town. The Judge on the case, Judge Bartnoff humorously shot him down saying “Mr. Pearson, you’re not a ‘we.’ You are an ‘I.’”

Pearson went on to call a bunch of witness to the stand, who had unsatisfying experiences at Custom Cleaners. However, all of the witnesses said they would have been satisfied if they’d been given compensation for the amount of the value of their damaged or lost clothes.

The majority of the witnesses said they’d had positive encounters at Custom Cleaners. None of the witnesses said anything about deserving millions of dollars for being unsatisfied with their transaction. After questioning his witnesses, Pearson became incredibly frustrated and spent two hours ranting about his lost pants. He ended his rant teary eyed in anger.

The Outcome

Luckily, the case was brought to justice, after a series of dramatic accounts. It came to light that Pearson was just a hostile man, who had recently undergone a divorce. He’d suffered from a series of financial difficulties and had it out for the Chungs.

Apparently, in 2002, the Chungs lost another pair of his pants, and he was compensated for $150. The Chungs wanted to prohibit him from coming to their shop, but he said he had to go Custom Cleaners because it was the only place walking distance to his house.

What happened at the end of all this drama? Absolutely nothing. The judge released a 23-page ruling that Pearson wasn’t entitled to any compensation at all. In fact, Pearson ended up having to take care of the Chungs’s court fees.

Unfortunately, the Chungs did have to pay their attorney fees, which ended up costing them two of their stores. Fortunately for the system, Pearson also lost his job, because a review board claimed he lacked judicial temperament.

The Consumer Protection Act

This case played an important impact on American law, because it caused us to question the Consumer Protection Act. This act is a group of laws that’s been around since the 1970s, before the age of personal injury law suits.

These laws were supposed to protect the rights of consumers to make sure that industries aren’t being unfair to the consumer.  They’re meant to keep the consumers from getting scammed or hurt by goods and services – not vice versa.

So, that leads us to our next question “was Pearson truly hurt by the Chungs’ business?” While he might’ve suffered a minor 3-day inconvenience, that’s the risk that anybody takes anytime they go to any dry cleaner. He even got his pants back.

So, the moral of the story as with the majority of these frivolous lawsuits is that nothing good will come out of trying to cheat the system. However, some cases aren’t as outrageous as they seem.  Especially, when physical personal injury is involved. If you think you have a personal injury suit, then call the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and we’ll find justice to your injury.

The Case of the Chili Finger

finger trickWell, folks, it’s officially winter time. Snow was falling across much of the nation by early November. Now that it’s almost December you could say things are getting rather chilly. Speaking of chilly, Baton Rouge, LA personal Injury Attorney J. Price McNamara and the rest of his staff thought it might be appropriate to delve a little deeper into the infamous “Wendy’s Chili Finger” case.

The Case of the Wayward Chili Finger

Here’s a little light-hearted winter reading for you. I’m pretty sure you have all heard about the infamous lawsuit filed against the mega-conglomerate fast food chain Wendy’s in 2005. If not, well here’s a little background on the whole debacle.

On March 22, 2005, a woman by the name of Anna Ayala claimed that she found a severed human finger in a cup of chili she had ordered from Wendy’s. If this isn’t ridiculous enough, as you would think someone would notice an employee screaming about the fact that they had just severed their finger, an actual investigation was performed by the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County.

Though early reports from the incident claimed that the finger was, indeed, fully cooked, it was soon concluded that the finger in question did not come from any employees working at Wendy’s location or any of the ingredients used to make the chili. To make matters even more interesting, simple forensics made short time of determining that the tissue on the finger was not consistent with what human tissue would look like if it had been cooked in something for three hours at 170 degrees. Hmm… the chili plot thickens.

Of course, one would think that if Wendy’s was truly at fault for this incident, they might be looking at a hefty lawsuit. But were they?

Some Facts About the Case

Well, things start to come together, and fall apart for Miss Ayala, within the third paragraph of the San Jose Police Department Statement of Facts, written by Christopher A. Wilson who was the officer assigned with investigating the incident.

According to Wilson, on the day of March 31st, 2005 all of Miss Ayala’s family members who were present at the time she claimed to have “bitten into the finger” were interviewed. However, none of them claimed to have seen the finger in Ayala’s mouth but did see it once she drew attention to it. Ayala’s brother in law, who was sitting next to her, claims Ayala stated the finger had been in her mouth and she spit it out into the cup, however, he did not see her vomit.

On the other hand, Ayala’s mother-in-law states that she witnessed Ayala spit the item into the cup of chili and begin to vomit. However, no evidence of vomiting could be found at the scene upon investigation.

On March 29th, 2005 Wendy’s employees that were present at the time the finger was found in Ayala’s chili cup agreed to consensual Voice Stress Analyzer tests. The employees were asked about the incident and tests revealed that each was telling the truth about having no prior knowledge of the finger, its origins, or its placement into the chili.  Additional witnesses who were present in the restaurant at the time Ayala found the finger in her chili also claimed the same as the Wendy’s employees. No one knew anything about the finger.

Background checks were then performed on Ayala herself. The results of which revealed that Ayala had filed numerous civil claims, thirteen to be exact, in both Nevada and California. It was also discovered that Ayala often times settled for cash payouts before the cases were ever heard in court.

Furthermore, a traceback on the food products used in the preparation of Wendy’s food was performed by the California Department of Health Services. It revealed that no accidents or contaminations had been reported in any of the locations that provide Wendy’s with food products.

Then, on April 12th, 2005 it was publicly announced that Ayala was no longer seeking compensation from Wendy’s. However, the Corporate Director of Marketing for Wendy’s responded with a claim of their own. Apparently, the corporation had been experiencing an estimated loss of one million dollars a day in sales since the incident was made public on March 22, 2005.

So what does this leave us with? It means that the finger came from an outside source, and that outside source appears to have been Ayala herself. It also leaves Miss Ayala looking at a heap of trouble.

So, What Actually Happened? And More Importantly, Where Did the Finger Come From?

This case really flipped on Ayala, and her husband. Jaime Plascencia, as well. Both of them were actually involved in the incident and both ended up pleading guilty to planting the finger. Both were sentenced to nine years in prison.

However, Ayala was released from prison after four years due to good behavior. It was after her release that Ayala came clean to the public about the incident.

“I cooked it,” Ayala states in an interview with ABC, regarding the finger. Ayala revealed that her husband obtained the finger from a friend of theirs who had lost it in an industrial accident. Ayala stated that she cooked the finger at home, brought it to the Wendy’s and then placed it into the cup of chili she had ordered.

Moral of the Story?

Personal injury lawsuits are not something to mess with. They are taken very seriously in the eyes of the law, and full-scale investigations will be launched based on claims made the “victims.” In other words, if you are lying, you will be discovered, and you will have to suffer the consequences. Forensics are leading the way in courts of law across the globe, breaking new ground and making it harder than ever to lie about things.

Remember, people can lie all they want, but forensic evidence has no bias.

Until next time readers, stay truthful and Godspeed.

Bugs Crash Burning Man Festival; Rashes Expected

Cockroach spray with spray cans isolated over white background

Last week the personal injury attorneys at Law Office of J. Price McNamara talked about  tragic incident that left a few farmers dead due to toxic exposure. Well, branching of that subject, it appears the first horsemen of the apocalypse, who is said to be Pestilence, may have finally arrived…

At least for those attending the Burning Man festival.

Those of us that aren’t tie dye donning, deodorant shunning, double rainbow seeing, new age hippies are fine. We don’t have to deal with this mini rapture. Because we function in society. Like normal people.

Burning Bugs

If you plan on attending the Burning Man festival this year then grab a hold of your peace pipe and fasten those leather straps on your sandals down into their tightest position because we’ve got a hell of a story for you. (We’de say it’ll blow your socks off, but we all know you aren’t wearing any.)

Recently there have been rumors floating around about swarms of insects invading the location that this most epic festival of debauchery and flagrant nudity is held: Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. However, the strange part is that no has seen them there in over two decades. The terrifying part? They are everywhere, they sting and they lick.

Yes, lick. These bugs use something called a proboscis, which is rather like a long hollow tongue *gag*, to penetrate your skin and search for precious moisture.

Omen? We think so…

Anyways, entomologists have been contacted and the rumors are true.

People, the bugs are infesting Burning Man, and we all know hippies won’t use bug spray for… whatever reason. Toxins? Yeah, it’s something like that. And God Knows Molly isn’t going to do anything about the bugs.

So What’s A Modern Flower Child To Do?

According to more research done by the entomologists, a recent boom in mustard plant blooms may have brought this plague on, and when the mustard plants die off, so will the bugs. However, this doesn’t really help out anyone right this second.

Can we suggest fire? Like, lots of fire. In fact, skip burning the Man all together and just focus on torching the bugs. Gas helps. ( We’re joking don’t use gas, that’s dangerous. Use propane, like an adult.)

However, since the likelihood of Burning Man attendees seeing the sense in setting fire to the thousands of insects looking to harvest the moisture off your skin entomologists suggest not slapping them or squashing them while they are on your skin.

Why?

It just keeps getting better.

These insects have been feeding on the mustard plants, which means they are now full of mustard oil, and mustard oil stings. A LOT. If you squash them while they are on your skin, you’ll kill the bug but get a dash of mustard oil in exchange. The amount released from one bug might not be very much, but since there appear to be hundreds of thousands of these lovely insects, that means there is a lot of mustard oil ready to be spilled.

So, we guess just try and shoo the buggers away? Or try and talk to them about how Monsanto is the devil incarnate and how wonderful the vegan beetroot and chia seed salad you had the other day was. That might actually put them to sleep like it does everyone else.

Other than that, unless someone assaults you at the festival (which is actually very likely as well) we can’t really offer any more advice.

We wish you the best and Godspeed friends.

 

Avoiding Personal Injury Due To Fantastic 4 Failure

MoviegoersAlright, so last week we discussed how baseball games are winding up for a fastball pitch by using computerized video systems in their games. We could make a pun about striking out at this moment, but that’s low hanging fruit. J. Price McNamara and the rest of his personal injury attorney staff here in Baton Rouge, LA can do better than that.

So let’s veer away from boring topics like new fangled video systems in baseball games and focus on an issue that really needs to be discussed: The unyielding colossal junkyard fire that is 2015’s Fantastic 4 and how going to see this movie may raise your chances of needing a personal injury attorney.

Let us explain.

A Memorable Movie Experience

Now, there is a reason we are posting an article about this film, and its contents come from personal experience. Just last Friday we ventured out into the wide world of moviegoers and partook in what can only be described as a memorable movie experience.

When we say memorable, we ask that you comb through your memory bank to see if you can recall ever seeing a large pile of tires being burned in a junk yard or on a barge. The smoke, the smell, all of it is terrible yet you can’t look away as you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Fantastic 4 is 2015’s giant mound of burning tires.

How to Avoid Personal Injury If You Are Determined to See The Film

By the end of Fantastic 4 you may be so dumbfounded by the level of failure that’s achieved in each of the two minute long fight scenes this “action packed” movie boasts, we fear your wits may momentarily take leave.

That being said, we have a few suggestions which may help you escape this movie unscathed and needing nothing more than a shower and a good nights sleep. Paying to see Fantastic 4 may not be your proudest moment, but gosh darn it, we’re gonna make sure you come out the other side with your head hung low and a story to tell.

Wear a Helmet. High Chances of Hurled Objects From The Audience

Let’s take a moment to look at some of our favorite cringe-worthy quotes from this film.

Sue Storm: “You want to be famous?”

Reed Richards: “I just want my work to make a difference.”

At this point in time, which is about twenty minutes into the film, you may want to make sure the straps on your helmet are fastened firmly in their places because folks, there’s going to be some turbulence ahead.

Dr. Franklin Storm: “With every new discovery, there is risk, but we are stronger together than we are apart.”

Try clench your jaw too hard, we’re not sure on the legalities of personal injuries to the mouth caused by film dialog. However, rest assured we feel your pain.

Ben Grimm: “Don’t let any of these lab coats give you any crap, alright?”

Reed Richards: “Well, if they do I know who to call. The muscle.”

God help us. Watch for flying cups.

Victor Von Doom: “You’ve opened a door you don’t know how to close. You don’t know anything about what’s coming.”

Reed Richards: “What is coming?”

Victor Von Doom: “Doom!”

At this point and time, it is advised to make your way to the nearest exit and leave, as the movie only gets worse from this point on. There is no redemption, only terrible dialog and ruined careers.

If by any chance you choose to be brave and stay, then end up getting punched in the face when the person next to you strikes out blindly in a fit of frustration then call us here at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamera. We’ll do what we can but just know… we warned you.

Until next time readers, be safe at the theater and Godspeed.